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    Offline Mobile PDA SIMS

    Well, finally put aside sometime yesterday to look at getting Mobile SIMS working on an IPAQ.

    We just got hold of the latest release, the one that promises off-line registration which we were promised back in March Left it a bit late really, uncomfortably so to get this running and tested (and staff trained) by September. But it's here now.

    This version states that it is recommended to install the server side on the SIMS Server itself, but I had a 'spare' donated server (old, but good) ready so I pushed on installing it on there. You have to install IIS on your server, various mobile web components and SQL Server! Now, for licencing issues, I just used SQL Express instead to see if it would work, and so far, seems ok. The setup program didn't complain about SQLExpress and duly setup a local database and linked in happily with SIMS server itself. Our main SIMS server works, so I'd rather just leave it doing that and nothing else really.

    After following the instructions carefully, picking out the odd error, the Server side of things seemed happy.

    Installed onto a PDA, and although a bit long winded (you have to manually install 4 seperate .cab files), got it running and in on-line mode with a decent wireless connection (which we don't always have), seems ok. A 'mini-sims' in your hand. However, we're more interested in off-line as most of our PE Lessons occuring down the road at the local sports centre.

    So, after remembering to add each PDA user as a Capita Mobile User within System Manager and setting up each user on the PDA Server, you have to log each user in using On-Line first. Then, you have to select Off-Line, login again () and select Sync. This then downloads all (yes, pretty much all) the Student data and other info to a local copy on the PDA itself. After a short while, the device is ready to do registration.

    Now, it seems to work (havent sync'd back to the server yet with registration marks, but it should work) I do however have a few complaints...

    1. Only one teacher can essentially use it. Each teacher must log onto it and sync the system as them to get the data for their lessons. You can't just log in as another user, so each of our 4 PE teachers will need a device.

    2. Licensing. £200 per PDA per year!! Not happy at that at all!

    3. Concerned about security. All pupil information (from the whole school) is downloaded to the device. Great having that info to hand on trips and stuff, but I'm not convinced at the security of the software. Obviously putting your own locks on the system would be an extra layer.

    Now, it works, it's a solution, but it just feels a little..... 'rushed?' I've got to try and educate 4 PE teachers next week on how this all works, and all of them are not very IT literate. I'm hoping they get into the habbit of sync-ing their devices in the morning with the SIMS server and remember to re-sync again to upload the marks when they are back in the school.

    I'm so not looking forward to September.

    Pete

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    rjm
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    Hi mate, the info above is really helpful. Did you manage to get the PDAs sync'ed back to the server?



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